Duluth Turban Lady, 1997

In 1994 I worked for six months at the Holiday Stationstore at 3401 Grand Ave., next to Wheeler Fields. The store closed around 2003 and the building is empty now. As you can imagine, there were a number of characters that frequented the store. One of them we called Turban Lady.

Turban Lady was a cranky old woman who, obviously, wore a turban all the time. One day I remember her coming in and complaining to me that I shouldn’t sell candy bars to kids because they just throw the wrappers on the ground.

Anyway, I saw Turban Lady walking down Grand Avenue a few years later and wanted to capture her image in order to better preserve the memories of my summer at Holiday. So there she is in the photo above — September 23, 1997.

Other characters I remember from working at Holiday:

* Budgeteer Boy was a guy in his 60s who delivered the Budgeteer in the neighborhood and when he stopped at Holiday he always bought a six-pack of 3.2 beer and some peanuts.

* Doughnut Lady was a woman who came in every day, bought a doughnut and used the pay telephone.

The most memorable character wasn’t from Holiday, though, but from my next job as clerk at the Shack Liquor Store:

* Stinky Lottery Guy came in every Sunday morning to buy lottery tickets. He consistently had the worst body odor I have ever encountered. If another employee came out from the back room two minutes after Stinky Lottery Guy left, he’d take a whiff and say, “Phew, Stinky Lottery Guy must have been here.”

A final note: I won’t name names — because I guess I’m still honoring the liquor store code 15 years later — but another thing I remember from my days at the Shack was a certain local millionaire stopping in frequently to buy lottery tickets. That never made sense to me. The lottery is supposed to be for poor suckers, isn’t it?



about 12 years ago

I used to call her the potato lady. When I worked at Rutger's Pharmacy back around the same time, she used to come into the pharmacy quite a lot (surprise) always complaining about something while she waited for us to fill her prescription. For some reason, she always had at least one bag of potatoes with her. Perhaps she had just gone to the grocery store, but my best guess is probably not. I asked her one time why she always had potatoes and she shouted "I LIKE POTATOES!" Then kept mumbling on & on about potatoes.


about 12 years ago

She once walked onstage at Denfeld during an assembly and yelled at everyone. She said something about being a cheerleader at one time. I think I called her the "White Lady" for obvious reasons.


about 12 years ago

Not the turban lady(?), but a few years earlier, downtown and E. Hillside, a slender walking lady in white and cream and a white turbanish hat, pretty elegant but walking walking all the time. Can't imagine her carrying potatoes.


about 12 years ago

I think I remember this lady out in the friendly West End while growing up.  For some reason I remember her being known as "The Bird Lady."


about 12 years ago

I remember Turban Lady from my college days working at the Glass Block ladies' shoe department. She was usually swathed in white cotton clothing (sheets?). One time she came in to return a pair of shoes, complaining about how they hadn't held up. The things looked like they had been worn every day for a year.

Yup, we took them back and gave her a new pair.


about 12 years ago

Is this the same person that I and others called "moonboots"? She would walk about(very slowly!!) in all white with moonboots on. Her head was usually wrapped in white cloth. There was also a guy usually around 27th Ave W. that was  always in Packer green and gold Zubaz and a Packer jersey with a blue spiral notebook.


about 12 years ago

I think she now lives behind us on 14th Ave E., and has a little poodle that's got rickets.

year of glad

about 12 years ago



about 12 years ago

I think the Zubas guy is a fellow named Larry.  He is an amazing darts player, and a little weird socially.  I used to hang out with him at the Casablanca Bar (R.I.P.) in Superior.  He is usually wearing at least one piece of Packers clothing, typically multiple pieces.

Rose H.

about 12 years ago

"Turban Lady" sounds like she had schizophrenia or some other mental illness but, obviously, was able to function.  Be careful who you talk about ... I happen to know the "Packer Guy" and though he is, perhaps, a bit socially awkward or eccentric, he is a very nice person who works hard and enjoys the simple pleasures of living in Duluth. It upset me to see him mentioned here ... if you want to discuss "weird people" in Duluth, try looking in the mirror.


about 12 years ago

@ Rose H.
I never said Larry was not nice or a hard worker.  You also agreed with me that there may be some social awkwardness, so what's the beef? 

I was just shedding light on a statement from another post. Why should it upset you to see a local person mentioned here?  

And why the jab at me? If being careful who you talk about is your mantra you completely fail by talking about me.

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